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Monday, 7 October 2013
Theft of Tsar Nicholas II's Gifts from Swiss Museum
Topic: Nicholas II

Pierre Gilliard with Grand Duchesses Olga and Tatiana at Livadia Palace in the Crimea
The jewellery given by Emperor Nicholas II to his children’s tutor Pierre Gilliard of Switzerland was stolen from a safe in the Cantonal and University Library of Lausanne four years ago, the Swiss newsagency 24heures has reported.

Though the theft took place in 2009, it became known only after Gilliard’s nephew paid a visit to Lausanne and asked to be shown the Russian emperor’s gifts – a gold cigarette case adorned with the emblem of the House of Romanov and four jewellery pieces for the tutor’s bride – Gilliard’s family had handed over to the library.

The nephew was told that the jewellery had disappeared under unclear circumstances. No one explained to him why he hadn’t been informed about the theft earlier. The local police authority confirmed that the library’s safe had been cracked open and emptied on the night of October 29, 2009. The library reported the incident to the local police authority. An inquiry was launched but nothing has been found so far.

Pierre Gilliard was employed as a French language tutor for Nicholas II’s daughters in 1905. In 1912, he became a tutor for his son and heir, Tsesarevich Alexei. He followed the family into internal exile at Tobolsk in 1917, however, the Bolsheviks prevented him from joining them when they were transferred to the Ipatiev House in Ekaterinburg in May 1918.
Gilliard remained in Siberia after the murders of the Imperial family, assisting White Russian investigator Nicholas Sokolov. In 1919, he married Alexandra Tegleva, a nurse to the Grand Duchess Anastasia. In 1920, he returned to Switzerland. In 1921, he wrote his classic memoirs, Thirteen Years at the Russian Court, which have since been translated into Russian.
In 1958, Gilliard was severely injured in an automobile accident at Lausanne. He never fully recovered from his injuries and died on May 30th, 1962.  
© Russkiy Mir and Royal Russia. 07 October, 2013


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 8:08 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, 7 October 2013 8:33 AM EDT
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State Hermitage Museum Gets Official Namesake Hotel

Russia’s famous State Hermitage Museum has opened an official namesake hotel in St Petersburg. This is the first experiment of the kind in which a museum cooperates with hotel business executives, ITAR-TASS reports. “The designers of this project didn’t try to reflect the Hermitage here,” Mikhail Piotrovsky, the Director General of the State Hermitage Museum said at the opening ceremony. “Some elements here reveal an obvious connection between the museum and the hotel but no attempts to copy anything are visible.”
Pitrovsky said that this five-star hotel is the only one in Russia and in the world that has received the official right to use the Hermitage Museum’s trademarks on the basis of a licensing agreement. The museum will not be receiving any commercial profits from the hotel but the two will rather launch joint programs. For instance, the customers staying at there will get “privileged rights” in the museum, Piotrovsky said. “We’ve set a very good precedent of a cultural institution and a business outlet working together.”
The hotel is located in a downtown building erected in the 1930’s. It housed a Food Industry Workers’ Club during the Soviet period. Complete overhaul was made inside the building with a due observance of all the requirements for protection of architectural monuments.
The inside décor of the hotel echoes the décor of half at the State Hermitage Museum. Many things there are styled to resemble the old times - the decorative furnishings on the panels, door handles, parquet, and so on. Engravings depicting the Hermitage Museums can be seen in the lounges. Films and videol clips depicting the museum’s collection are demonstrated on overhead screens. 
For more information on this hotel, including a video, please refer to the following article;

Fit for a Tsar: St Petersburg's Hermitage Museum to Open Luxury Hotel

© Russkiy Mir. 07 October, 2013


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 8:02 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, 7 October 2013 8:38 AM EDT
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Ukraine Issues Postage Stamp Marking Romanov Anniversary
Topic: 400th Anniversary

The Ukraine has issued a special postage stamp in honour of the 400th anniversary of the Romanov dynasty. Ukrposhta, the national state enterprise of postal service of Ukraine, has released a special stamp depicting the portraits of the first Romanov ruler, Tsar Michael Feodorovich and the current Head of the Russian Imperial House, HIH Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna.

Ukrposhta also released a set of envelopes which reflect the Romanov dynasty in the history of the Crimea. The envelope shows the Massandra and Livadia and palaces, as well as the Church of the Ascension of Christ at Foros, the beautiful memorial church built to commemorate the miraculous survival of Emperor Alexander III and his family after the rail disaster at Borki in 1888.

The ceremony marking the 400th anniversary of the Romanov dynasty took place during a reception at the Livadia Palace on September 22nd, in which members and representatives of some 39 royal houses (both reigning and non-reigning) from around the world attended. 
© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 07 October, 2013


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 7:42 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, 7 October 2013 8:39 AM EDT
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Sunday, 6 October 2013
Russian Crimean War Victims Honoured in UK
Topic: Russian History

The obelisk was erected in 1877 at the behest of the Emperor of Russia, Alexander II 
The Ambassadors of both Russia and Finland were in Lewes, Sussex, England on Saturday for a moving ceremony.

They attended the re-dedication of the Russian-Finnish Memorial in the churchyard at St John sub Castro.

The Grade II Listed obelisk has been repaired and cleaned at a cost approaching £9,000 and paid for by the Russians and organisations based in the Åland Islands of Finland.

The church was packed as guests were welcomed by Acting Minister the Rev Richard Field, the Russian Ambassador, His Excellency Alexander Yakovenko, and the Finnish Ambassador, His Excellency Pekka Huhtaniemi.

The historical background to the memorial was given by Graham Robins, Curator of Åland Museum.

It is dedicated to the 28 Finnish (*The Grand Duchy of Finland existed between 1809 and 1917 as an autonomous part of the Russian Empire and was ruled by the Russian Emperor as Grand Duke) from soldiers who died as prisoners of war in Lewes during the Crimean War of 1854-56 and are buried in the churchyard. They were from the Åland Islands and serving in the Russian Army.

The 17ft (5.2m) high obelisk was erected in 1877 at the behest of the Emperor of Russia, Alexander II.

Andrew Goodwin, of Lewes-based Mackellar Schwerdt Architects, oversaw the permits for the memorial’s facelift and commissioned stonemason Jon Tilley, of TE Tilley Ltd, Brighton, to carry out repairs.

Saturday’s ceremony continued in the churchyard, with blessings and prayers by the Archdeacon of Lewes and Hastings, the Venerable Philip Jones (in English), the Rev Teemu Hälli (in Finnish) and the Very Rev Vadim Zakrevsky (in Russian).

Wreaths were then laid by Mr Huhtaniemi and Colonel Simo Hautala, by Mr Yakovenko and Colonel Mikhail Klimuk, and by the Premier of the Åland Islands, Camilla Gunell.

Representing Lewes at the re-dedication were Mayor Cllr Ruth O’Keeffe and the Chair of Lewes District Council, Cllr Michael Chartier.

Some 340 members of the Fusilier Grenadiers defending the fortress of Bormasund in the Baltic Sea were captured by British and French forces in August 1854 and taken to Lewes. The men were confined in the old County Gaol, which stood in North Street. 
© Sussex Express and Royal Russia. 06 October, 2013


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 10:09 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, 6 October 2013 10:18 AM EDT
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Friday, 4 October 2013
Forgotten Faberge Comes Out of the Attic
Topic: Faberge

The following article is condensed from the October 3rd, 2013 edition of The New York Times. The author Eve M. Kahn owns the copyright presented below.  

Russian royals loved to collect figurines of their subjects. The Fabergé workshops produced about 50 sculptures in semiprecious stones and gold representing peasants, servants and the occasional Gypsy singer and street sweeper.

Two of the works, with glittering eyes and thick gray beards, realistically portrayed Imperial Cossack bodyguards. A depiction of Dowager Empress Marie’s servant Alexei A. Kudinov remains at Pavlovsk Palace near St. Petersburg. A statuette of Empress Alexandra’s bodyguard, Nikolai N. Pustynnikov , was long thought lost.

It was actually sitting in an attic in Rhinebeck, N.Y. In the 1930s, a Fabergé collector had acquired it in Manhattan from the dealer and industrialist Armand Hammer. It re-emerged this summer, with original receipts, when a descendant’s estate was cleaned out. Stair Galleries in Hudson, N.Y., will auction it on Oct. 26. (It is estimated at $500,000 to $800,000.)

“This is really a major addition to the literature — it’s a historical discovery,” said Gerard Hill, a Fabergé specialist who researched it for Stair. Fabergé fakes have been proliferating lately, Mr. Hill added, but he is convinced that the forgotten Cossack is real.

“The expression in the face — nobody can do that these days,” he said.

Fabergé artisans carved sardonyx, nephrite and cacholong to capture Pustynnikov’s careworn forehead, creased boots and chest medals.

The figurine was part of mounds of Soviet booty that Hammer helped sell off to shore up the Communist regime with hard currency. According to “Selling Russia’s Treasures: The Soviet Trade in Nationalized Art, 1917-1938” (M. T. Abraham Center/Abbeville), a forthcoming book by nine Russian scholars, “Hammer effectively acted as the main intermediary in the efforts made by the Soviet government to ‘export the world revolution,’ a role which proved quite profitable.”

Objects that he imported, with czar provenance, have reappeared in the last few months. A two-inch metal cross brought $5,100 at a Skinner auction in Boston. An enameled icon painting of the Resurrection sold for $50,000 at Humler & Nolan in Cincinnati.

More Imperial possessions are going on view in the next year. The Russian billionaire Viktor Vekselberg is renovating a palace in St. Petersburg for his Fabergé collection. Another Russian billionaire, Alexander Ivanov, keeps adding to his Fabergé museum in Baden-Baden, Germany. In November, an exhibition at the Museum of Russian Art in Minneapolis, “The Romanovs: Legacy of an Empire Lost,” will contain some of Hammer’s wares.
© The New York Times. 04 October, 2013


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 6:40 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, 20 December 2013 7:09 AM EST
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Orthodox Patriot Wants Famous Painting of Ivan the Terrible Purged
Topic: Russian Art


Ivan the Terrible and His Son Ivan on November 16th, 1581 by Ilya Repin (1885). Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow 

A Kremlin-linked dairy magnate and radical Orthodox Christian activist has demanded the removal from one of Russia’s main art galleries of a painting of Ivan the Terrible that he says is a smear on the nation’s reputation.

In a lengthy appeal to the authorities, Vasily Boiko-Veliky describes 19th century Russian painter Ilya Repin’s work “Ivan the Terrible Killing His Son” as “slanderous” and “unpatriotic.”

Mainstream accounts of Russian history have it that the notoriously ruthless 16th century monarch did, in fact, kill his son in a fit of intemperate rage, but Boiko-Veliky insists the tsar was in fact an upstanding and landmark historical figure.

Tretyakov Gallery director Irina Lebedeva told RIA Novosti that the painting would continue to hang, but Boiko-Veliky’s appeal marks a new turn in an ongoing trend at revisionism that has appalled many professional historians.

Culture Minister Vladimir Medinsky, one of the people to whom the appeal was addressed, had not commented as of Thursday, but he may prove a sympathetic ear.

Medinsky, a former public relations manager, has published a series of books aimed at debunking alleged myths about Russia. These, he has written, include the ideas that serfs were ill-treated in tsarist times and that Russians have a penchant for heavy drinking.

Conservative activism is on the rise in Russia, with Christian activists protesting against a number of art projects. Targets have included modern art exhibits by prominent museum curator Marat Guelman, in the cities of Krasnodar and Novosibirsk in early 2012, and a show of works by British artists Jake and Dinos Chapman at the St. Petersburg’s Hermitage Museum in December.

Repin’s painting, which depicts the tsar in a state of appalled terror as he cradles his dying son in his arms, is considered a landmark of Russian realist art and features in most textbooks on Russian history, which have traditionally depicted Ivan the Terrible as a cruel tyrant.

While Ivan the Terrible is commonly acknowledged with strengthening the central government, it is also recognized he did this to a large extent by massacring his foes.

Boiko-Veliky, 54, has gained media exposure by combining his business pursuits with hardline Christian activism. In 2010, he ordered all employees in relationships to conduct church weddings or face dismissal.

He also posted a reward of 50,000 rubles ($1,500) for identities of members of the feminist punk band Pussy Riot, who performed an anti-Kremlin song in a cathedral in Moscow in 2012. Five band members participated in the performance, but only three have been identified so far.

Boiko-Veliky’s fortune was in 2007 estimated by Finans business weekly at 3.5 billion rubles ($110 million).

Ruzskoye Moloko company, part of his Your Own Financial Caretaker holding, supplies dairy goods to the presidential administration. In 2010, then-Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and then-President Dmitry Medvedev - the two have since switched roles - sampled the company’s milk at an agricultural fair.

Still, the tycoon has not always managed to stay on the right side of the law. Boiko-Veliky, who was expelled from the Komsomol communist youth league in Soviet times over his religious beliefs, spent 20 months in custody in 2007-2008, pending investigations over a suspect land deal. He was released on bail and the case is ongoing.

For more information on Tsar Ivan IV, please refer to the following articles at Royal Russia News;

Myth About Tsar Ivan IV - this article also disputes the commonly held myth that the tsar killed his son

Ivan the Terrible’s Library: Greatest Historical Mystery

Stalin’s Scheme to Glorify Ivan the Terrible

© The Moscow News. 04 October, 2013


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 6:12 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, 4 October 2013 6:30 AM EDT
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Thursday, 3 October 2013
Exhibition: The Tsars' Cabinet and Windows into Heaven
Topic: Exhibitions

The Tsars’ Cabinet: Two Hundred Years of Russian Decorative Arts Under the Romanovs
Windows into Heaven: Russian Icons from the Lilly and Francis Robicsek Collection of Religious Art

Friday, October 4, 2013, through Wednesday, March 5, 2014

You won’t have to travel overseas to see hidden treasures of Imperial Russia. Discover them in two exhibitions opening Friday, Oct. 4, at the N.C. Museum of History in Raleigh. The Tsars’ Cabinet: Two Hundred Years of Russian Decorative Arts Under the Romanovs will run concurrently with Windows into Heaven: Russian Icons from the Lilly and Francis Robicsek Collection of Religious Art. The exhibitions will be on view through March 5, 2014.

The year 2013 marks the 400th anniversary of the beginning of the Romanov Dynasty, or the House of Romanov — the imperial monarchy that ruled Russia from 1613 until 1917 and included the reigns of Peter the Great, Catherine the Great and Nicholas II, the last tsar.

“To commemorate this anniversary, the Museum of History will present these exhibitions that give visitors a rare glimpse into the splendor of Imperial Russia,” said Dr. Jeanne Marie Warzeski, Exhibition Curator.

The Tsars’ Cabinet: Two Hundred Years of Russian Decorative Arts Under the Romanovs  

The N.C. Museum of History is the only mid-Atlantic venue to host The Tsars’ Cabinet, a traveling exhibition showcasing more than 230 objects that exemplify the craftsmanship of artisans under the Romanov tsars. A feast for the eyes, the exhibit features decorative arts dating from the reign of Peter the Great to that of Nicholas II.

From richly ornate table services designed for coronation banquets to jewel-encrusted personal items, the spectacular objects in The Tsars’ Cabinet reveal the extreme lavishness and opulent lifestyle of the Romanov reign. Many of the pieces were made for the ruling tsars and their families.

The exhibit includes objects produced by the Imperial Porcelain Factory in St. Petersburg, one of the oldest porcelain factories in Europe, as well as wares made by the Imperial Glass Factory in St. Petersburg and examples of intricate enamel work from renowned firms such as Fabergé and Ovchinnikov.

Among the treasures in The Tsars’ Cabinet are items from a Kremlin ceremonial table service, yacht service pieces, and elaborate urns made for imperial palaces. Stunning personal artifacts include an Ovchinnikov silver gilt and lapis-lazuli jewel casket and a Fabergé gilded silver and shaded cloisonné enamel cigar case.

The Tsars’ Cabinet is organized by the Muscarelle Museum of Art at the College of William & Mary from the Kathleen Durdin Collection, in collaboration with International Arts & Artists.

Windows into Heaven: Russian Icons from the Lilly and Francis Robicsek Collection of Religious Art

From the life of sumptuous excess under the tsars, Windows into Heaven plumbs the mystical depth of the Russian spirit and offers a glimpse into eternity via the dignified grandeur of the Russian Orthodox Church. The exhibition brings together 36 Russian icons dating from the 18th and 19th centuries, during the time of the Romanovs, from the collection of Lilly and Francis Robicsek of Charlotte, N.C.

When Russia converted to Byzantine Christianity in 988, its churches adopted the ancient tradition of painting icons. Over time, Russians developed a distinctive style of iconography featuring religious scenes in the Byzantine, or Eastern Orthodox, tradition. Eastern Orthodox Christians venerate icons as conduits to God and a focus for their prayers and meditation. Thus, icons become “windows into heaven.”

Visitors will recognize many familiar Christian themes in Windows into Heaven.  Icons showing the Mother of God, events in the life of Christ, the apostles and saints are featured. Less familiar representations include the Old Testament Trinity, as well as saints important to Russia, such as Cyril and Methodius and Seraphim of Sarov.

Beautiful to behold, icons were often made by monks or nuns. The religious images brought comfort to many in times of sorrow and hardship. The variety of icons presented in Windows into Heaven provides an intimate look at Russia’s complex past.
© North Carolina Museum of History. 03 October, 2013 


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 1:35 PM EDT
Updated: Thursday, 3 October 2013 1:45 PM EDT
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Wednesday, 2 October 2013
Russia in the 1910s
Topic: Imperial Russia

The Grand Duchesses Olga, Tatiana, Maria, Anastasia, and the Tsesarevich Alexei take part in the White Flower Day Festival at Yalta
These five videos feature a collection of newsreel clips shot in Russia during the years 1910-1913, showing a variety of scenes including Tsar Nicholas II and his wife, Alexandra Feodorovna at official functions.

In Part III, we see some wonderful film footage of the Imperial family during the White Flower Day festival at Yalta, an event that the children of Nicholas II: the Grand Duchesses Olga, Tatiana, Maria, Anastasia, and the Tsesarevich Alexei took part in.

The films show various aspects of life in Russia, in both rural and urban settings. We see the day to day lives of both rich and poor, but overall, the films offer us a brief glimpse into a lost world, one that was wiped out by the Bolsheviks and the Russian Revolution. 

Russia in the 1910s - Click Here to View 5 Videos

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 02 October, 2013


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 9:39 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, 2 October 2013 9:46 AM EDT
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Tuesday, 1 October 2013
Exhibition: The Romanovs in Russian and Foreign Postcards at Nizhny Novgorod
Topic: Exhibitions

The exhibition features more than 500 postcards of members of the Romanov dynasty from the late 19th-early 20th centuries
The Archaeological Museum, located on the territory of the Pechersky Ascension Monastery, in the Church Diocese of Nizhny Novgorod is presenting a new exhibition, The Romanovs in Russian and Foreign Postcards. The collection of late 19th and early 20th century postcards are from the collection of the Revival of Cultural Heritage Fund.

The exhibition began with the blessing of Metropolitan of Novgorod and Arzamas, an active member of the Imperial Orthodox Palestine Society. The exhibition is a joint project of the Nizhny Novgorod Pechersky Ascension Monastery and the Revival of Cultural Heritage Charity Fund.

The exhibition features more than 500 postcards of members of the House of Romanov, and this collection is constantly updated. The exhibit is dedicated to the 400th anniversary of the Romanov dynasty, and the memory of the Holy Royal Martyrs, and runs from September 26th to November 1st, 2013.

Alexander Panin, Deputy Chairman of the Moscow regional branch of IOPS introduced the exhibition to guests, and spoke about the history of postcards in Russia, about the collection fund, and stressed the role of the Romanov dynasty in the history of the Imperial Orthodox Palestine Society, providing details about the Grand Duke Sergei Alexandrovich, Grand Duchess Elizabeth Feodorovna, the family of Emperor Nicholas II, all of whom were honourary members of IOPS.

Archimandrite Tikhon stressed the importance of this new exhibition marking the date of the 400th anniversary of the Romanov dynasty, and also talked about plans for further exhibitions between the Archaeological Museum of Nizhny Novgorod and the Revival of Cultural Heritage Fund in 2013-2014. 

This is the fifth exhibition, which has been held in the Archaeological Museum at Nizhny Novgorod organized between the monastery and the Fund. Two more exhibits are planned by the end of 2013: In the Service of the Fatherland, dedicated to the life and works for the good of Russia of the Grand Duke Vladimir Alexandrovich, an honorary member of the IOPS; and The Holy Royal Children, an exhibition that tells the story of the children of Emperor Nicholas II - the Grand Duchesses Olga, Tatiana, Maria and Anastasia, as well as the Grand Duke and Tsarevich Alexei Nikolaevich. 
© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 01 October, 2013


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 11:43 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, 1 October 2013 12:02 PM EDT
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Monday, 30 September 2013
New Bell Tower Completed at New Jerusalem Monastery in Moscow
Topic: Russian Church

The bell tower that was demolished by Nazi forces in December 1941 has been rebuilt at the New Jerusalem Monastery 
The unique 75-meter bell tower that was demolished by Nazi forces in December 1941 has been rebuilt at the New Jerusalem Monastery in the Moscow region. Today for the first time the bell tower resembles its original appearance as when it was first erected during the time of Patriarch Nikon, ITAR-TASS reports.
Founded under Patriarch Nikon in the 17th century in Istra on the outskirts of Moscow, the New Jerusalem Monastery was meant to evoke the Holy Land and serve as a pilgrimage site. Two buildings, the Church of the Tomb of the Holy Savior and the Cathedral of the Resurrection, form the nucleus of the monastery. Inside the two churches, the icon, decoration, and inscriptions represent the most important group of polychrome ceramic work ever produced in Russia. Built between 1658 and 1698, New Jerusalem is an extraordinary example of Russian ecclesiastical architecture.
Bombing by Nazi occupying forces in 1941 destroyed the great dome of the Cathedral of the Resurrection; it was partially reconstructed in the 1980s. Sporadic restoration and maintenance followed, but came to a halt in the 1990s. In 1995, the New Jerusalem Monastery was handed over to the Russian Orthodox Church and resumed its service as a male monastery. In 2002, the World Monuments Fund put the New Jerusalem Monastery on the World Monuments Watch List of 100 Most Endangered Sites.
In 2008, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and then Patriarch Alexy II visited the monastery and later that year organized a Charity Fund for the Reconstruction of the New Jerusalem Monastery, with Deputy Prime Minister Viktor Zubkov appointed its head. 

New Jerusalem Monastery is an extraordinary example of Russian ecclesiastical architecture
© Russkiy Mir. 30 September, 2013


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 2:07 PM EDT
Updated: Monday, 30 September 2013 2:17 PM EDT
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